What is Foam Free Floral Design? The Experts Weigh in: It’s Beautiful, Sustainable, and on the Rise.

Foam Free Floral Ceremony Arch

“Foam Free”. It’s a phrase that’s floating around the floral industry and it’s picking up steam! You may be asking, what exactly IS foam free floral design and what does it have to do with me? Well… let us break it down for you. The “foam” in foam free refers to a water absorbent mechanic that’s used to create floral designs. It’s extremely convenient to work with, however, more and more florists are trying to educate on its potential harm to the environment. Thus the phrase: “foam free”. Ingrid Rose Floral Artistry, a designer who is passionate about being foam free, shared more with us about what this movement is all about:

Floral foam is essentially the plastic bag of the floral industry. It’s an incredibly convenient, sound mechanic, but it’s a single-use plastic. It’s also packed full of carcinogens so even if it were to disintegrate into a landfill, those chemicals would end up in the surrounding soil.  Being mindful of the environmental impact of floral foam is an effort that requires the support of both clients and designers alike. It’s my hope that as an industry we can continue to do our part while still reaching groundbreaking levels of design.

Sustainability is always in style! If you’re wondering if you can help the environment and still have stunning wedding decor, the answer is 100% yes! Can you believe Inessa Nichols Design created this gorgeous ceremony arch above without any floral foam?? Feathered Arrow Events is responsible for the event planning and Loie Photography for capturing the beauty!

We’ve gathered some of our favorite “foam free” designs to inspire you! Scroll along with us and let’s take a look!

Going Foam Free

Foam Free Floral Design- Sustainable Weddings

floral: Revel Petals | photo: Lauryn Kay Photography | venue: Everett West | dress: Brides for a Cause | makeup: Brittany Blanchard

I’ve been a 100% foam free florist since my first child was born 5 years ago. When I came back to flowers after taking a maternity leave, my love for my new daughter made me want to curb all the ways my existence hurts the earth, so as to leave it a healthy place for her *(and her children) to thrive.  I know that may sound trite and idealistic, but what is more powerfully idealistic than a mother’s love? I curbed our single use plastics, started recycling more, composting, and seeking to make other wholesome, earth-friendly changes.

In my opinion, almost any design can be made foam free, and those items that can’t *(I have yet to meet one) maybe should be redesigned or reconsidered. I’m not saying crush your wedding dreams, but maybe contemplate the big picture — a wedding is a single day — a wondrous and joyful celebration of your long-term love for one another. And that’s a beautiful thing. But I think, knowing that your wedding isn’t putting a toxic toll on the earth for generations to come, makes your wedding day even more exquisite.

Foam Free Ceremony

Foam Free Ceremony Flowers

photo: Nicole Ashley Photography | floral: Ingrid Rose Floral Artistry | dress: Galia Lahav | hmua: Behind the Blush | via The Kindle Workshop

Can you believe this stunning installation contains ZERO floral foam?! Talk about being easy on the eyes AND on the environment! Ingrid Rose Floral Artistry had this to say about her own journey as a foam free designer:

Foam free design is so important to me because as an industry, floristry has an astoundingly large global environmental impact. I am fortunate to live on an island in the Pacific Northwest that, while tiny, is bursting with the most incredible flower farmers who I try to source as much from as possible. While this alleviates my conscience somewhat in regards to the carbon footprint that many imported flowers hold (they don’t arrive to North America via zero-carbon racing yacht á la Greta Thunburg!), I feel that going foam free is an equally integral part of being gentler on our local ecosystems. I’m delighted that so many people are taking the time to become educated in the ways they can be mindful of their footprint (both as it pertains to floristry as well as their day-to-day life).

Freedom of Design

Foam Free Ceremony Flower Installation

floral: Sassafras Flower Design | photo: Chloe Mae | event design: Arches and Co. | Venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley

Floral designers must get extra creative to figure out how to make interesting shapes and curves without the ease of floral foam. Many say they enjoy the challenge! If you’re looking to go “foam free” on wedding day, make sure to discuss with your florists about their recommendations of design. They may have some unique ideas that could totally surprise you and your guests!

Foam Free Flower Arrangement

photo + floral: Cultivated by Christin

Just look at the movement of this foam free floral arrangement! Don’t worry about your floral designer being limited by using alternative design mechanics. The opposite is actually true! Many designers find more freedom when they aren’t working with floral foam. Cultivated by Christin says this about the style and vibe of a foam free piece:

If you’re looking for romance, go foam-free. Your centerpieces will be naturally abundant and softer in style than traditional arrangements. Also, floral arches made without foam offer designers tremendous flexibility, so your venue decor will be unique.

Go Big or Go Home

Fall Foam Free Floral Ceremony Design

photo: Our Ampersand Photo | floral: Southerly Flower Farm | venue: The Turnbull Building | hmua: Gabrielle Bordo

Not an ounce of foam in sight! Think about all of the single-use plastic that was saved from this enormous and absolutely stunning installation!

Foam Free Flower Arch

floral: Susan McCleary, Passionflower Sue | photo: The Billings | planning: Events by Honeybee | dress: Elizabeth Dye | see more from this Art-inspired Wedding Full of Florals

A key to going “foam free” on wedding day is trusting your designer. They’re professionals, so give them an idea of your floral vision and let them run with it! You’ll be amazed by the magic that comes from giving your vendors creative freedom, especially when they’re working with mechanics and techniques you may not be familiar with. Sweet Heather Anne, the lovely bride featured above had this to say about working with her amazing wedding floral designer who created this “foam free” masterpiece:

My advice is to choose vendors who are passionate about what they do, and give them the creative freedom to wow you. If you try to micromanage every aspect of your wedding, you’ll go crazy wading through all the details. There are vendor gems out there who have spent countless hours perfecting their craft who will jump at the chance to try the new ideas they’ve been dreaming up.

Foam Free Reception Designs

Foam Free Babies Breath Flower Garland

floral: Mabel M Florals | event planning: Precious the Planner | photo: Samantha Clifton Photo

Foam Free Wedding Flowers

photo: Samantha Clifton Photo | floral: Mabel M Florals

Weddings don’t have to be wasteful. This is a motto that’s floating around not just the floral industry, but the wedding industry as a whole. Sustainable wedding gifts, organic food options, reusable decor and now, “foam free” florals. The important thing is to remember that you can have that “wow” wedding you’ve been dreaming of while being environmentally conscious. You just have to get creative! Mabel M Florals says this about what it means to go “foam free” as a wedding designer:

Sustainability is intrinsically linked to everything that I do. I am currently working hard to be 100% organic, however I realize it takes so much time, careful study and experience to eventually achieve this. For now we are moving away from using floral foam and we have began to compost green waste as well as choosing sundry materials that have a low environmental impact. Alternatives we are currently using are: Chicken wire, Kenzan, or “flower frog”, and a simple water source in reusable containers. Honestly I have found these methods not only easy to use but also cost effective. I cannot wait to see more and more designers practice sustainable, foam free methods!

Foam Free and Floating on Air

Foam Free Hanging Flower Installation

photo: Carly Jean Photography | floral: Twiggs Floral | hmua: Ava Bambico | dress: Brides on Hartz

What do you think brides and grooms-to-be? Are you trying to be more environmentally conscious as you plan your wedding? Is “foam free” floral design something you’re incorporating into your day? What are some other ways you’re reducing your carbon footprint and making your wedding more sustainable? Let us know down in the comments!